Acute and growing shortage of primary care docs elevating role of pharmacists, nurse practitioners
Who needs the services of community pharmacists and the nurse practitioners who staff retail-based walk-in clinics and ambulatory care centers? Among others, the nearly 67 million Americans underserved by primary care physicians.
That’s the number of U.S. residents currently living in a part of the country where there’s a shortage of primary care doctors, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. What’s more, access to the family doctor is getting harder and harder even for those who do have a regular physician, according to the research group Marketdata Enterprises.
Of that group, “only 57% report having access to same- or next-day appointments, and 63% [have] difficulty getting access to care on nights, weekends or holidays without going to the emergency room,” the company reported in late September. What’s more, one in five adults “waited six days or more to see a doctor when they were sick in 2010,” Drug Store News senior editor Antoinette Alexander reported last week, quoting Marketdata research.
The growing dearth of primary care physicians is one big trend spurring the explosive growth of disease management and preventative health and wellness services from chain and independent pharmacists. It’s also driving the recent upsurge in retail clinics — and the growing menu of health and diagnostic services offered by NPs in those clinics.
It’s about access and convenience. Patients who suffer a severe sprain or need a flu shot or sports physical don’t want to wait days to see a doctor, and neither they nor their insurers want to spend the time or money it takes to visit a typical physician practice or emergency room for relatively minor or preventative care.
As Alexander reports, the need for more accessible and affordable primary-care alternatives is also one factor behind the decision by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American College of Nurse Practitioners to merge their organizations, effective Jan. 1, 2013. For the combined organization, which will be known as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners or AANP, it’s about speaking with one voice to more effectively serve patients in a fast-changing health system, according to DSN.
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Medication nonadherence costs drug makers $188 billion per year in U.S., report finds
NORWALK, Conn. — When it comes to medication non-adherence, the most oft-cited statistic illustrating its effect on the healthcare system is the New England Healthcare Institute’s estimate that it costs the healthcare system $290 billion per year. But a new report shows how much drug makers lose as well.
Capgemini Consulting announced Monday the release of a study conducted with HealthPrize Technologies showing that the drug market loses $188 billion in U.S. sales and $564 billion in global sales each year due to patients not taking their medications as prescribed.
The report, "Estimated Annual Pharmaceutical Revenue Loss Due to Medication Non-Adherence," examined 100 therapeutic areas ranging from chronic conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension to critical conditions like HIV, cancer and transplants, finding that the annual losses represent 59% of all pharmaceutical revenues, which healthcare market research firm IMS Health estimates were $320 billion in the United States and $956 billion globally in 2011; drug revenues would be $508 billion in the United States and $1.52 trillion globally were it not for the losses, the report found, and even a 10% increase in adherence would significantly raise revenues.
"The revenue that pharma leaves on the table due to lack of adherence to prescription medications is much higher than usually thought," Capgemini Consulting principal Thomas Forissier said. "In addition, many people don’t realize that a 10% boost in adherence could increase revenue by much more than 10%. That 10% loss is based on the higher revenue amount that could have materialized, not on actual revenue earned."
HealthSpot unveils walk-in kiosk at New York CES event
NEW YORK — A healthcare technology company introduced its latest health kiosk at a consumer-electronics event in New York.
HealthSpot showed off the HealthSpot Station at CES Unveiled New York. The walk-in kiosk provides acute care patients with live access to board-certified doctors through high-definition video conferencing and interactive digital medical devices.
"Our mission at HealthSpot is to work with top healthcare providers to extend affordable, timely and convenient access to health care within every community across America," HealthSpot CEO Steve Cashman said.
Teleconferencing between patients and physicians could become a necessary component of the healthcare mix in the future. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, there will be a shortage of 130,000 physicians by 2025, while the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 40 million Americans will have new access to health insurance by 2014 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. "Trends in health care demand innovative solutions to increase access to healthcare services at a cost-effective price," Cashman said. "It is simply physically impossible for our country’s healthcare system to continue on its current path."